KCB joins Equity in Ksh.1 trillion valuation club

KCB joins Equity in Ksh.1 trillion valuation club

The KCB Group is now the second local bank to reach the Ksh.1 trillion mark in total assets after the Equity Group. The lender crossed the threshold in the quarter ending in June 2021 where its total assets peaked on the right side of the mark at Ksh.1.022 trillion. This to keep up pace with its rival peer Equity for the tag of Kenya’s largest bank by assets. The pair have been termed as arch rivals with many likening them to the two renowned football clubs from Manchester in the United Kingdom. Keeping up with the analogy, KCB would be Manchester United drawing from its longevity as a successful banking club. Equity Group meanwhile would be the recently moneyed club, just like Manchester City, having just found its mojo in recent decades to become the outfit to beat in the local banking scene. The lender’s run to the top of the food chain is attributable to a successful expansion in recent years through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) after a solid organic growth in its initial phase of growth. Equity total assets stood at Ksh.1.119 trillion at the end of June including Ksh.478.7 billion in net loans and advances to customers. The acquisition of a majority stake in the Banque Commerciale du Congo (BCDC) late last year pushed Equity to the Ksh.1 trillion line ahead of KCB in what was an anti-climax to an expected photo finish. Today, Equity Group has 337 branches across the region with operations in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, the DRC and South Sudan and has a representative office in Ethiopia. KCB is however clapping back on the competition with operations in five East African Countries including Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan represented by 354 branches. Come the end of 2021, KCB might just overtake Equity to take the throne again as it is set to complete the purchase for a controlling stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) by October this year. This will add to the bank’s 2019 capture of the National Bank of Kenya (NBK), now a KCB Group subsidiary. Moreover, KCB is closing in on Atlas Mara’s African Banking Corporation (ABC) in Tanzania which will be later merged to its subsidiary in the country. According to KCB Group Managing Director Joshua Oigara, the Ksh.1 trillion asset valuation fete is a barrier to be broken again by the rest of the field as he expect bigger banks to get their hands on bigger deals. “I think we should continue to see growth. This was just a hurdle. Many more banks should be able to reach the target,” he said. KCB Group Chief Finance Officer Lawrence Kimathi says bigger bank balance sheets represents greater leverages for entities in the economy. “The bigger the balance sheet for local banks, the more we can drive economic growth from a standpoint of funding big projects and playing in the projects management space,” he said in an interview with Citizen Digital on Thursday. Joshua Oigara expects mergers and acquisitions to shape future growth but expects organic growth to remain persistent. “I think we should continue seeing more mergers and acquisitions, may be not in our markets today. We see the opportunity to build momentum on operating income off our current acquisitions,” he added. For now Equity remains at the top of the table but with more plays expected. Moreover, Equity Group remains the more profitable unit at present having booked Ksh.17.5 billion in net profit through six months to June against KCB’s Ksh.15.3 billion net profit in the same period. Individually, both KCB and Equity have balance sheets the size of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) as per recent disclosures from the reserve bank.

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